AK City Approves Marine Anode Installation


The borough administration and government in Wrangell, Alaska, has reportedly approved an $880,294 contract to install corrosion-inhibiting anodes in the city’s harbor and two other points.

A report from the Wrangell Sentinel states that the anodes will be installed in Wrangell’s Heritage Harbor by Juneau-based Global Diving and Salvage and will be funded through the Port and Harbors reserves. 

Background Information

In March of last year, Wrangell’s Port and Harbors Department reportedly hired a diver to take a look at the pilings around Wrangell. Reports stated the investigation had found that anodes had never been connected to the steel pilings at Heritage Harbor when it was finished in 2009.

“He came out here and started doing a survey to kind of check the pilings and see what the anodes looked like,” Harbormaster Steve Miller told KSTK in April. “He called me and he’s like, ‘There’s no anodes.’” 

These anodes reportedly act as “sacrificial pieces” of metal that can reduce long-term corrosion in harbor areas, and their inclusion is reportedly the industry standard at harbors.

The absence of these anodes reportedly influences the Heritage Harbor pilings. Miller stated that they look older than other pilings that do have anodes, though the Heritage pilings are newer.

Additionally, patches of rust underwater reportedly crumbled away under the diver’s hands, revealing “forearm-sized patches of disintegrating metal.”

The harbor was then reportedly stated to be in need of over 450 of the anodes to be welded underwater, onto pilings in the harbor. Each anode reportedly weighs “more than an average NFL linebacker.”

“Every harbor, when you start putting steel in salt water and then you have every boat has different metals, and not every boat maybe is perfectly wired—you’ve got AC current, you’ve got DC current, you’ve got so many different currents running around in here, that it all has to go someplace,” Miller explained. “There’s grounding rods that take care of the AC currents, but DC currents, those have to find a way to ground as well.”

At the time, an engineering estimate put the cost of the project at $988,000, not including other docks without anodes such as the pilings at the municipal shipyard or its concrete dock.

According to Miller, the new anodes are expected to almost double the lifespan of the harbor’s components.

“These are 50- to 60-year lifespan floats and pilings,” Miller stated. “Without anodes, usually around 30. So even if we can get them on within the next year or two ... we’re going to extend the life of the piling by probably another 30 years, at least.”

Miller stated that it was not clear why the anodes were not included in the harbor, though he guessed that it was in relation to cost since the harbor was reportedly a grant-funded project.

Recent Approval

Now, a new report from KSTK has indicated that the contract to install these new anodes was approved at an assembly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10. 

In addition to the funding for the anodes, Wrangell will also reportedly consider a construction oversight contract with the anode project’s engineers for up to $50,000.

At the same meeting, the borough assembly also approved a $19.6 million contract for a new community water treatment facility with Sitka-based McG Constructors, an effort that the city’s government has reportedly been working towards for the last six years.

Other Marine Developments

In September, antifouling biotechnology developed by I-Tech AB reportedly protected the hull and other areas of the world’s largest hospital ship in a recent successful test. 

According to the release from Selektope, the test was the company’s toughest challenge and protected the ship while it was docked for extensive periods of time in warm waters.

The release stated that though Global Mercy spent over 22 months stationary, at risk from barnacle fouling, since delivery to Mercy Ships in August 2021, the vessel’s hull and "niche areas" have remained completely free of barnacle fouling.

Uncoated surfaces of the vessel, the azimuth propellers and bow thrusters, were reportedly found to be covered with biofouling, both soft and hard fouling species. Additionally, it was noted that Barnacle fouling was present in areas where the coating surface was damaged, including the bulbous bow and where anchor damage had occurred.

Selektope’s release also stated that it is an active agent ingredient added to marine coatings in nano-molar concentrations—about 0.1% per wet weight of paint—that is characterized by its first-of-its-kind bio-repellent mode of action, which can help keep a ship’s hull free from barnacles with a non-fatal effect on the target organism.

When floated, the vessel reportedly underwent outfitting for 300 days. If the vessel’s idling time during outfitting was also considered, the barnacle fouling protection delivered by Selektope reportedly spanned over 32 months of static performance in total.

Also, earlier this month, a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan reportedly began developing sensors to monitor and help prevent damage to coatings on planes, bridges, pipelines, turbines and more. 

According to a release from the University, the researchers were testing the sensors, monitoring certain structures to find how they can help keep the wear-resistant coatings from deteriorating over time.

UBC Okanagan doctoral student Vishal Balasubramanian stated that a changing climate has escalated the need for more detailed erosion-corrosion monitoring in a number of industries such as aviation, marine transportation, renewable energy generation and construction.

Balasubramanian and others in UBC’s Okanagan Microelectronics and Gigahertz Applications (OMEGA) lab reportedly began developing sensors that can be embedded directly into the coatings instead of the current method, which is conducted using a manual probe.

The new sensors can reportedly detect and find the eroding layer in multi-layered coatings, as well as detect the total wear depth of protective coatings. The data is reportedly gathered to give a detailed report for engineers and stakeholders about the potential damage and danger of failures.

In lab tests, the differential network device interface system was reportedly tested in multiple temperatures, including extreme hot and cold, as well as different levels of humidity and UV exposure to imitate harsh environments.

The system that was developed was then reportedly tested with multiple types of coatings while their responses were monitored in four versions of experimental setups using necessary environmental parameter variations.


Tagged categories: Antifoulants; Asia Pacific; Contracts; Corrosion; Corrosion protection; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmental Controls; Government; Infrastructure; Latin America; Marine; Marine; North America; Ongoing projects; Port Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Quality Control; Technology; Z-Continents

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